There are many ways to water the mind. There was I, weeding to take my mind off Britain (not so much the political hiatus but the spoilt-children of the media lobbing their toys in all directions because they want their way and they want it now) when I remembered was Puskar had said. Time is personal.
Puskar is from Nepal. A friend who has spent a few months here, helping, sowing seeds, wisdom, laughter.
Having three vegetable patches dotted about presents inevitable irrigation issues. Resourcefulness is watered by necessity (lack of cashflow) and stubbornness. We flatly refuse to throw away anything remotely recyclable until every last alternative use can be explored. Sometimes the consequences are crude. Sometimes they are quite charming.
Puskar had decided in April to dig up the small terrace in front of the house, where Maggie and her watering can had cultivated copious quantities of vegetables in our first two years. Certainly the soil there is fertile, but we had moved our patch because we bought chickens and their enclosure and afternoon free range territory was there.
We’re going to need fencing and water, I said, leaning on the low wall. Then my eyes wandered to the wine making overspill stacked against the barn, including old oak barrels that could no longer be trusted for our moonshine but are way too charming to part with.
Puskar, meanwhile, began constructing a barricade of cane, hazel and old string that has a certain something too. And it has, so far, deterred the brood from scratching out our rocket, tomato, pumpkin, pepper and melon seedlings. Now the barrel sits proudly in one corner of the patch, brimming with water, siphoned from the spring reservoir.
Pusker’s garden was created in the second week of April, and midway he broke off his labours to wish us “Navavarsha”, Happy New Year.
“Get a grip,” I said.
“No, now is our Nepalese new year. It starts very nicely now.”
“Your 2010 starts in April.”
“No. The year is 2067.” A flash of white teeth. That’s one way to circumnavigate Nostradamus.
As for the British so-called national newspapers and their ranks of well-heeled commentators living in the London bubble, please temper the ranting in, er, the national interest. Patience is a virtue, although I accept it is not a word in the journalist’s handbook. What has been written in the last few days speaks more about the authors than the politics, and virtue is libelled.